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Rose Collins Wins the 2022 John O’Connor Award for Best First Book

image Rose Collins

Local writer Rose Collins has won the 2022 John O’Connor Award for Best First Book for ‘My Thoughts Are All of Swimming.’

Judge, Elizabeth Smither, commented on the book:      “This highly accomplished, beautifully ordered collection of consistently stunning poems ranges from the wide-lensed beginning to a focus on the particular, from crater to soup bowl, from ‘Alan Recuperating on a Bed of Rabbits’ – the brilliant titles are a feature – to a husband encountered tree felling…

“There is a steadiness of tone, a poise, an assured fully-developed voice, clear-seeing, measuring, at times almost forensic…

“This is a remarkable collection, not just for its range or titles or skill, but for the sense it builds of the poet as a personality… Whatever the subject Rose Collins has the enviable ability to be both present and an observer at the same time. ‘My thoughts are all of swimming’ has the best kind of style, the subsumed kind that accentuates personality rather than diminishes it.”

The committee of the Canterbury Poets Collective thanks all the poets who participated in this inaugural competition, submitting such fine work that Elizabeth commented at the outset, as she received the manuscripts of the finalists: “This shouldn’t be too difficult. Who was I kidding? It was some of the hardest judging I have ever done. For that I have to thank the preliminary judges who had done such a superb winnowing. Not only that but the manuscripts were so beautifully presented. The title pages were practically works of art, the titles so original and zany they could have been joined up in a long found poem.”


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